Quality Matters - 10/02/2007 (Plain Text Version)
In this issue:
TIPS & TOOLS: Creative Touch Interiors Cools Punch Lists with Hot Spot Training
In today’s marketplace, consumers have more choices than ever before giving renewed vitality to the adage “the customer is king.” To significantly improve the quality of its products and services, one NHQ Certified trade company has implemented an effective hot spot training system that has led to regular and sustained improvements in all of its field crew activities.
In today’s marketplace, consumers have more choices than ever before giving renewed vitality to the adage “the customer is king.” For many trade companies, striving to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction is essential for survival because happy builder customers are return customers and referrals lead to new business. However, simply striving to provide better service doesn’t always produce the desired results.
To significantly improve the quality of products and services and achieve measurable results, the National Housing Quality (NHQ) program recommends using hot spot training as part of a customer-focused quality assurance system. Hot spot training incorporates a graphic tool that depicts the right and the wrong way of performing certain routine field construction tasks. For NHQ Certified Trades, this process is an ongoing part of the approved quality system and a best practice to help reduce callbacks, improve accountability, and increase customer satisfaction.
One NHQ Certified trade company, Creative Touch Interiors (CTI) of southwest Florida, has implemented an effective system of hot spot training that has led to regular and sustained improvements in all of its field crew activities. Andy Edinson, NHQ Representative for the CTI branch in Ft. Myers, Fla. provides tile, carpet, vinyl flooring, and hardwood flooring to new home builders from Sarasota to Naples and oversees hot spot training for crews in the region.
Each month Edinson selects a new hot spot from a prioritized list of recurring jobsite problems submitted by field and production managers. All CTI field managers carry digital cameras and provide suggestions for hot spot training to their production managers, who work with Edinson to evaluate and prioritize the most important issues.
Ideal issues for hot spot training are those that are recurring, field process related, or costly to correct. For continual process improvement, Edinson then maintains separate lists for each of his trades and selects a new hot spot topic for each crew monthly.
Because hot spot training is graphics based and focused on a single task, communicating with multilingual work crews is also made easier by including right-way/wrong-way photos together with simple instructions of how to correct the quality issue (see Figure 1 for an example of CTI’s hot spot training materials).
Throughout 2007, CTI of Ft. Myers has successfully used hot spot training to address an average of four recurring problems each month. CTI’s production managers introduce each hot spot in the monthly production meeting and field managers reinforce the initial training with weekly meetings in the field with each crew. Field managers also inspect all work on every job and each month the inspection emphasis changes to include the current hot spot. This keeps work crews focused on a specific hot spot throughout the month. Inspection results are then tracked to ensure the training is effective and the particular hot spot ceases to be a recurring problem.
CTI’s hot spot process is working and Andy Edinson says he can see the value of the effort in builder feedback, customer satisfaction survey results, and improvement in the quality of CTI’s flooring operations.
For more information on hot spot training, visit www.nahbrc.org/quality.
For more information or to contact us directly, please visit www.NAHB.org | ©2007, National Association of Home Builders